Monday, April 19, 2010

Here's something dumb.

By CATcash advance

Last week I made a box of mac&cheese. I had an extra little container of pico de gallo from Taqueria Los Charros (my favorite burrito place) and threw it in. Oh my god, it was delicious. I know I'm probably the last person to come around to this (I've read people singing the praises of Ro-tel many times before), but gosh, it was really good. I was really surprised.
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

I started a new sewing project yesterday. So obviously I needed to take a break and bake today. It's funny what I'll do when I'm avoiding something. 
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Cinnamon Quick Bread

4 Tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup vinegar+milk substitution)
2 cups flour

2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp brown sugar

Heat oven to 350. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. (Optional: put some extra sugar and cinnamon in the bottom and up the sides of the loaf pan.)

Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer. Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and mix together. Add vanilla and eggs and mix. Pour the buttermilk in slowly while mixer is running. Add flour 1 cup at a time and mix until you have a smooth batter. Pour into loaf pan.

In empty mixer, combine butter, sugar, and cinnamon into a paste. Dot the loaf with bits of the paste and push them down into the pan.

Bake on a sheet pan (just in case there's any overflow) in the middle of the oven. Start checking on it after 45 minutes, but it will probably take closer to an hour. 
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Thursday, April 08, 2010

The following recipe is my attempt to turn this cake into a quick bread. I think I did a decent job. I was sort of winging it, because that's ALWAYS a good idea when baking. I did not feel like whipping egg whites, so I chucked in a whole egg and omitted the oil. I was worried that it'd spill over in the oven, so I put a baking sheet under the loaf pan, but it turned out I needn't have worried. It rose above the loaf pan and cracked across the top, but all the batter stayed in place. The loaf I made tastes spiced (duh) which is then followed by a very strong wheat flavor from the whole wheat flour. It's not bad, but I think it'd be more pleasant with AP flour. It's better after a night of rest, the flavors are melding together better. It's (not surprisingly) good with tea. 
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Chai Quick Bread

1/2 cup REALLY STRONG chai tea (black), cooled
2.5 cups flour (I used whole wheat, AP'd be better)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 Tbsp crystallized ginger, chopped, optional
2 Tbsp cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk (or equivalent vinegar-milk substitution)
1 egg
cooking spray

Heat oven to 350. Prepare a loaf pan with cooking spray. Cream together butter, cream cheese, and sugars in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add salt, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger (if using) and mix together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl/mixer, and add the egg, tea, and buttermilk. Mix together (yes, it'll be quite soupy looking). Add the flour in three batches, mixing thoroughly until combined. Pour batter into pan. The batter should fill to about half or 3/4 of an inch to the top. Bake for 1 hour (well, start checking on it after 45 minutes—I think mine took closer to 75, but I was using denser flour and stuff).
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I had the best sidecar ever last year at Serpentine. They make theirs with Qi White (which is SO MUCH BETTER than Qi Black, that monstrosity made with Lapsang Souchong). Back at FallFest... 2007, maybe?... I tried a bunch of wines from Quady Winery. They make great stuff. I bought a bottle of Essensia the other day to share with my friend Sylvie, and decided to use the leftovers to make a Sidecar that would hopefully rival the wonderful one I had at Serpentine. I think it worked!

Oh yeah, I'm 30 now. And this blog is six years old. Woo! 
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Essensia Sidecar

1.5 oz. Essensia orange muscat wine
1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 oz. brandy

Combine in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled glass. 
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Gingery Maple Cookies
badly cribbed from Cook's Country

1 1/2 cup AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 stick butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp maple extract
3 Tbsp minced crystallized ginger
1/4 cup white sugar

Heat oven to 350.

Cream the butter and brown sugar. Mix in the egg, maple syrup, and maple extract. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, and crystallized ginger and mix to combine. Place the white sugar in a bowl. Roll the dough in 1-inch balls, then toss with the sugar to coat. Place on baking sheet, then flatten with a drinking glass (I apparently forgot to copy down this step- mine turned out puffy instead of flat). Bake for 10-12 minutes. 
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New & Improved Spiced Nuts

1 lb nuts (I used almonds, pecans, cashews, and walnuts)
1 egg white
1 Tbsp apple cider (I used Trader Joe's spiced cider)
1 tsp table salt

1/2 cup white sugar
1.5 Tbsp black pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp nutmeg

butter or cooking spray, to prepare the pan

Heat oven to 300. Prepare a sheet pan with a bit of butter or cooking spray. (I used a smallish nonstick roasting pan.)

Whisk together the egg white, apple cider, and salt. Mix in the nuts and stir to coat thoroughly. Drain in a colander for 5 minutes. Combine the sugar and spices and mix with the drained nuts. Spread in pan. Roast for 45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Let cool and break apart any clumped together nuts. 
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I made four pounds of spiced nuts last night during D&D for our company holiday potluck. It turned out that four pounds is more than I thought. I had them in a large Pyrex bowl, but it was overflowing. So I grabbed my big ol' cast iron French oven (not a Dutch oven, heavens no, Le Creuset wouldn't want to sully their name so) and mixed them up in there. I used a pound each of pecans, almonds, cashews, and walnuts. It's basically the Peppered Pecans recipe made without the butter, and using the "coat in egg white and liquid then drain for five minutes before baking" method I got from the Orange-Cardamom Spiced Nuts. So they're very crunchy, which was the only problem I had with the Pecans recipe.

The party is tomorrow. My coworkers better like them! 
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a killer meal. Dad made a kosher turkey for the first time. We've brined birds before, but my folks aren't keen on the texture (I think they're nuts, but whatever). My dad was annoyed at the amount of feathers he had to pull out, but after butterflying it and stuffing a bunch of heavily herbed butter under the skin, we all agreed that it was the most delicious turkey we had eaten. I think we may continue with kosher birds in the future.

I made the chipotle-maple sweet potatoes. I need to revise this recipe. I made it with less cream this time, and I think it turned out for the better. Mom made Death By Broccoli; she cubed the cheese instead of shredding it-easier! She also made crazy delicious creamed onions, mashed potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. I should post the recipe for those onions. They're from Julia and Jacques: Cooking at Home, except Mom roasted the onions first, instead of parboiling them. The roasting added a incredible layer of flavor. Delicious Maillard reaction!

Jon brought green bean casserole (using a Cook's Illustrated recipe), and Ryan brought cranberry sauce and both pumpkin and apple-cranberry pies. I had half a slice of the apple-cranberry. I wanted to eat more but I was too stuffed!

Mom also made rutabagas and butternut squash, but I didn't partake. Same goes for Dad's gravy. I'm just not super-big on gravy; the turkey was juicy enough without it (plus I was using the cream from the onions on everything, it was so good).

How was your Turkey Day? 
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